Adm. Daryl Caudle, who oversees most of the Navy's East Coast forces, said this week that he wants sailors to know that their mental health is important and that the service has resources available to help them deal with the stress of military service.
“I think it's important for the sailors on the waterfront to know that the folks at my level, at the fleet master chief level, care a lot about their welfare,” Caudle told reporters at a press conference Monday at Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia, dedicated to Suicide Prevention Month.
However, Caudle struggled to explain recent reports that seem to show sailors are struggling to actually make use of those resources — such as the newly enacted Brandon Act — and he conceded that the Navy still needs to address a culture that has led the service's junior members to distrust that help.
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Reporters at the press conference cited recent reporting by local TV station 13News Now that detailed the story of Marine Lance Cpl. Alex Grzesik who had mental health issues aboard the USS Carter Hall, a ship currently deployed to the Middle East, according to audio of the event obtained by Military.com.
The news station reported that Grzesik suffered for weeks and invoked the Brandon Act — a new law that is supposed to allow sailors and Marines to…